Airbus has released a series of new images of its Alpha Two prototype, a demonstrator of its planned autonomous flying taxi.
The Alpha Two has been created as part of the company’s Vahana project. These images reveal that the prototype does not look like a conventional aircraft or helicopter and has a character of its own. Lift is provided by no less than eight propellers, and Airbus claims to have completed 50 full-scale test flights with the Alpha One, the predecessor to the prototype pictured.
As the craft has been designed to operate itself, it is loaded with advanced hardware and software which will allow it to sense and avoid obstacles in the air. Airbus has developed this system in-house through its Wayfinder technology developed by the A³ by Airbus advanced projects outpost.
Unlike its predecessor, the Alpha Two has a completed interior, and while the design still remains in its concept stage, we can see that it houses a single passenger with a glass canopy and a small central screen.
Airbus commenced its Vahana project in 2016 with the aim of developing an electric-powered vertical take-off and landing prototype. The project has been growing consistently ever since and on May 3, the Alpha Two prototype reached 170 km/h during a test flight.
The aircraft giant believes that personal aerial vehicles may be the answer to transportation challenges in cities around the world and wants to introduce the finished craft next year.